The Signs of the Time

We live in the Junk Age. Everything is so cheap today that we can buy plenty of it, and keep buying more…to eventually junk up our homes and lives…which spawns industries to sell us more stuff to help us sort, organize, and label the junk “the artifacts of our daily lives.”

We have cheap sources of paper to waste. Kids have tons of coloring paper, everywhere they go there’s something to color – at home, schools, doctors’ offices, restaurants. Everywhere we go we are given sheets of papers – pamphlets on our car windows; flyers advertising sales, the God news, business ventures, and just about anything else; notices of taxes, bills, payments, services.

And to add more to the paper waste, we get copies of everything – copies of all original, copies of copies, everyone got a copy? Copies. We make ton of them.

Receipts. Do we have enough of them? Spend five cents and you get a receipt. Spend more and you get a receipt with a whole sheet on warrantee and the extented warrantee option, and dont’t forget the instruction manual, and the product registration in case of a recall and then you will get a written notice. Keep all receipts, save them for the IRS, and make copies.

Junk mail. Tons of that – the credit card offers, the bank offers, business opportunity offers – offers of services for hire, offers for chances to win free trips, gifts, millions. Lots of junk.

That’s paper. This is plastic. It’s the stuff that will take more millions of years to break down than we have time for. It is more likely that our nearest star, the sun, will explode first and, thus, ridding us of all life and plastic.

Plastic grocery bags. They use to be thicker and strong so the bag boys can jam all your groceries into two bags. Now the bags are so thin, you can see right through them, even the Wal-mart blue ones. And everything is an excuse for a bag. Two apples and a celery stalk get a bag. The lonely loaf of bread gets a bag. The gallon of milk gets TWO bags. Five toothbrushes, the toothpaste, band-aides, one bag. Then slam the bananas, mush the grapes, bruise the pears – one bag for them. No care, break Kosher and stick the bloody, dripping meats packages with the cheese, half and half, cream cheese – one bag, double bagged, please.

So by the time you unload the groceries, there lays at your feet sixty bags to gather up and confuse your mind. What should you do with all these bags? Take them back to the stores to recycle? No, you always forget to. Use them in your home? Sure, why not. A bag for carrying lunch in. A bag for nicknacks, for dirty diapers, for kids to carry their toys to their rooms, for the same kids to use as toys – they can make parachutes out to them. And a bag to yell at your kids to not put over their faces. One bag.

But what do you do with the 59 still on the floor? Throw them in the trash. Its quick and easy. Yes and it’s the sinful thing to do but you are thorough exhausted by now to care.

Toys come in plastic. Thick plastic is good, because it generally will last longer. The thin plastic toy is the cheaper of the cheap and will break at a touch. And now you have to buy more cheap toys because they keep breaking. Plastic Legos to step on, scratch up the nice wood floors you spent thousands of dollars to make shine, and break your back trying to pick up. Barbie, her van, and the many tiny accessories are all plastic. Too many to count but it takes, as my mother-in-law likes to say, “forever in a day” to pick up.

That’s the sign of our time. We are in the Junk Age. We have so much that we clutter up our lives with it and there seems to be no escape. So, what will you take: paper or plastic?

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